What is a Whitening Mask?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A whitening mask is a beauty product that is used to lighten the skin on the face. It can be used to help reduce irregular pigmentation or scarring. It can also be used to lighten the overall color of the skin. The masks generally come in two forms. They are packaged either as sheets or as creams.

Yogurt can be used to make a whitening mask.
Yogurt can be used to make a whitening mask.

Whitening mask sheets are pre-treated sheets that are formed to fit the face with cut-outs for the eyes, nostrils, and mouth. The sheets are removed from their individual packages, fitted to the face, and left on the skin for a certain period of time. Whitening mask creams are also applied to the face and allowed to remain there for a certain period of time. The difference is in the application. Creams have to be applied to the face in a thin, even layer by hand.

Honey is used to make a whitening mask at home.
Honey is used to make a whitening mask at home.

Many people use this kind of mask in order to reverse the appearance of sun damage and age spots. A whitening mask can also be used to fade scarring that is the result of acne. The ingredients that are used to lighten the skin and fade scars include licorice extract, mulberry extract, and kojic acid.

Whitening masks can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scarring.
Whitening masks can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scarring.

For those who have actively erupting acne, it is best to choose a whitening mask that says explicitly on the product label that it can be used on both developing and healing blemishes. Masks with alpha hydroxy acids can cause negative reactions on skin that has actively erupting acne or even skin that is very sensitive. For this reason, people with either of these kinds of skin issues should avoid masks made with alpha hydroxy acids.

It is possible to make a whitening mask at home using a few ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. The mask is made with two tablespoons of honey (30 milliliters), four teaspoons of lemon juice (20 milliliters), three teaspoons of plain yogurt (20 milliliters) and one egg white. The ingredients should be whisked together until the mask is a uniform consistency. Then it can be applied to the face and allowed to soak in for 15 minutes before it is removed.

Like many kinds of skin care products, the results of a whitening mask will become apparent over time if the product is used repeatedly. Reading consumer reports and seeking recommendations online in beauty forums is a great way to find masks that work well and masks that deliver results.

Mulberry extract is used to lighten skin and fade scars.
Mulberry extract is used to lighten skin and fade scars.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


That is so weird that people use it for whitening their skin. Do they apply it all over? I was just looking for something to fade my acne scars. I hate sun damage, but I love the beach too much and I would never care if I have tan lines. I do care about acne scars. I guess vanity is vanity, no matter the reason.


@animegal - I think it's quite depressing that people try to change the color of their skin. Michael Jackson is a good example of how messing with your natural appearance can go so horribly wrong.

I do understand the social and cultural pressures though. Having lived in Asia myself it's pretty hard to ignore the discrimination many people experience.

When I first lived abroad I had no clue what was what. It was only when a friend pointed it out that I realized I'd bought a skin whitening mask by mistake.

Learning more about why people strive to meet these culturally imposed ideals is important. Only then can we engage people in discussion of the underlying issues.


I have always been unhappy with the acne scars I have on my face. I went to a dermatologist once for a micro abrasion treatment, and this worked for awhile, but was not a permanent fix.

I wanted to find something that I could use on a regular basis at home and decided to try a facial whitening mask.

I didn't have any trouble finding one, and tried to buy one that had some good reviews. Some of them were quite a bit more expensive than others, so I went with one that was priced in the middle.

A little bit goes a long way, and the jar of cream I bought has lasted for a long time. I continue using it because I think it does help minimize the scars and really makes my face feel much smoother.


The best whitening mask I have used is made by Mario Badescu. I have tried several skin care products made my this company and have never been disappointed.

What I notice the most after using this whitening mask is how soft my face feels. It is very moisturizing and hydrating and I feel like I am really giving my skin a treat after just one application.

My skin is fairly sensitive and sometimes I will get an itchy reaction when I try a new product, but my skin always feels great after using this.


I have tried a whitening face mask cream and some whitening sheets, and I prefer the cream. I like being able to apply the cream myself and also found it to be a little bit cheaper.

I have used a whitening mask to help even out my skin tone and reduce some old acne scars. When I first bought it, I used it every other day until I saw some results. After a couple weeks of doing this, I now use it twice a week.

For me the whitening mask does a nice job of making my skin tone seem more even and younger looking. My acne scars are not completely gone, but they are less visible than they were before.


@animegal-- I know what you mean! It's the same with my family and we are from India. You can't even find bath soaps that are non-whitening in India because everyone wants to look fairer.

Whitening masks are used by most women, especially in the summer because its so hot and the sun is really strong. Becoming tanner is kind of unavoidable if you have to go outside.

I don't know why there is an obsession with looking fairer. I think it has to do with class like you said. Apparently, in old times, people could tell apart different castes in India from their skin color. Since workers and farmers are always outside, they have darker skin than the rich castes who were mainly indoors. Plus rich castes always marry rich castes and poor castes marry poor so the fairness or darkness of skin is somewhat passed on.

But now, the middle class is rising in India and everyone can make more money. Castes still exist but not so definitively as before. But people still have the darker or lighter skin their ancestors passed on to them. So the rising middle class is going crazy over whitening products- soaps, creams and masks to reflect their new place in the Indian class system. This is my interpretation of the whitening product frenzy anyway.

I rarely use whitening facial masks, but when I want to, I head over to the Asian store or online Asian shops because they have the most variety.


Most of the females in my family use a whitening mask because they hate the look of having any kind of tan. In Korea, having darker skin isn't seen as flattering because it is considered something that only poor people have. While this is a hugely outdated stereotype, it unfortunately still holds true to day. The whiter your skin, the more you must work indoors and be a person of leisure.

Beyond just whitening masks my family also always carries parasols and covers up while swimming. If I were to get a tan I am sure my mom would freak out over it.


When you choose to use a whitening mask make sure you try it out on a patch of skin that isn't visible first. I chose a whitening mask to get rid of some old acne scars I had and it actually ended up making my face really red and puffy. I suppose I had an allergy to the one I had picked.

I really had hoped that the whitening mask would work, but in the end I ended up just going to dermatologist for microdermabrasion. This procedure was basically deep exfoliation that helped my skin to renew itself faster. It really worked and I feel that my acne scars are a lot less visible now.

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